Tag Archives: Colombia

Institucionalidad y corrupción desde la colonia | Institutional framework of corruption from colonial times | Mosaico-Impreso | Prensa.com


´La causa porque han muerto y destruido tantas y tales, y tan infinito número de ánimas los cristianos, ha sido solamente por tener su último oro y henchirse de riquezas en muy breves días y subir a estados muy altos y sin proporción de sus personas´: B. de las Casas.

A really good article center around the origins of institutional corruption in governance in the Republic of Panamá. However, given the article’s premise, It will need more than just a quick summary and the link and run.

The article presupposes that, since structural forms of governance were fairly rare in Latin America before the Spaniards arrived, the Spaniards brought the institutionalized corruption with them and installed it in the form of governance created in Latin America. The article blames the greed of the conquistadors and their lust for gold as their only focus and their willingness to do or say nearly anything in acquiring more of it. It also condemns the Catholic Church as, if not an actual willing participant, a collaborator with the Spaniards in the greed and lust for gold instilling corruption in governance in the conquered lands.

La corrupción se institucionalizó en América desde la llegada de los primeros conquistadores, cuando adoptaron el pernicioso lema: “La ley se acata, pero no se cumple”. Transgredían sin consecuencias, al tiempo que se perfiló con claridad un grupo social oportunista y pragmático, que anteponía sus intereses económicos al bien común y al rejuego de las ideas, tal como se puso de manifiesto el 28 de noviembre de 1821, en ocasión de la independencia de España, cuando el soborno jugó un papel protagónico.

Corruption was institutionalized in America from the arrival of the first conquistadors, who adopted the pernicious mantra: “The law is accepted, but not fulfilled.” They transgressed (the law) without consequences, up until an opportunistic and pragmatic social class was clearly identified, which put its economic interests ahead of the good of the community and the interplay of mutual ideas, as found on the occasion of the drafting of the Manifest of November 28, 1821, declaring independence from Spain, where bribery played a a leading role. (translation mine)

The author of the piece gives only the briefest of an outline of the period between the Revolution of Independence from Spain and the Secession of Panamá from the Republic of Colombia. Well, in truth, the entire article is only a very brief description of the premise and not very well documented, however, given that this was published in a newspaper, La Prensa, where space is always at a premium, this is understandable. Nevertheless, the premise of this article, that this article is a very interesting take on the corruption so very prevalent in Panamá (and many other western hemisphere countries) can trace its roots back to the original conquerors of the hemisphere, whether North, Central or South America. It is one that I began exploring in a short co-thesis when I was working on an advanced degree in History with a concentration on the Western Hemisphere with a classmate. We never really hit the nail on the head the way this premise does, which probably explains why our premise was less ambitious than this article.

The current presidential administration in Panamá of Ricardo Martinelli, is, by general consensus, the most corrupt since the invasion of Panamá by the United States and the replacement of the dictator, Manuel Noriega. While I do not mean to lessen the benefit of this act to us Panamanians, nevertheless, the justification for the entire operation was totally illegal under international law and was a process that was the burden for us to carry out for ourselves. Violation of another country’s sovereignty is never justified and there are many actors on the political stage in Latin America who would be happy to assist Panamanians in throwing off the burden of the dictators. The principal reason for George H.W. Bush invading Panamá and deposing Col. Noriega was to cover Mr. Bush’s part in the Iran-Contra affair and the use of Panamá as both a source of additional funds to finance Ronald Reagan’s Contra support and other unlawful interventions, but to also make use of Panamá’s bank secrecy laws in laundering those profits from the CIA’s drug trade.

All that not withstanding, this article is a very interesting read and is highly recommended to the reader.

Institucionalidad y corrupción desde la colonia | Mosaico-Impreso | Prensa.com.